Partners in Health, co- founded by Paul Farmer, is an organization dedicated to bringing quality health care to poor citizens of the world. They have responded to the crisis in Haiti, gathering information about ground conditions and responding to the area’s most pressing medical and health needs. They are seeking surgeons, nurses, and medical personnel to volunteer in the relief effort. If you are a health professional that would like to contribute, please send an email to email@example.com with information on your credentials, language capabilities (Haitian Creole or French desired), availability, and contact information. For updated information on the Partners in Health relief effort in Haiti, please visit their website.
Staying Well. Connected.
Health Professionals Called to Volunteer in Haiti
“No Country for Health Care”: Texas Tribune reports on lack of health care for rural residents
A multi-part article in the Texas Tribune reports that despite the efforts of Congress to expand access to health care, thousands of Texas residents in rural counties will not benefit. In many rural and border areas, there simply are no family physicians or just a few for huge areas of the State and fewer specialists. Many counties have no hospitals or trauma care, as small community hospitals have been unable to attract staff or to afford to remain open while treating many patients with little or no insurance. Rural and border residents may have to travel hundreds of miles to seek routine medical care or even to fill prescriptions, leading to lack of the most basic care: “It’s a void medical experts say contributes to poor health and even death, as rural residents succumb to preventative diseases that they don’t have the doctors, money, or transportation to treat.” Incentives to attract physicians to rural areas have done little to solve the problems, and many border residents continue to seek treatment in Mexico, where it is less expensive to obtain care and medications.
New Report from Pew Research Center
A new report from the Pew Research Center entitled Latinos Online: Narrowing the Gap highlights progress in overall use of the Internet: “From 2006 to 2008, internet use among Latino adults rose by 10 percentage points, from 54% to 64%. In comparison, the rates for whites rose four percentage points, and the rates for blacks rose only two percentage points during that time period. Though Latinos continue to lag behind whites, the gap in internet use has shrunk considerably.”
In contrast, the increase in home Internet access among Latinos/Hispanics was more modest: “In 2006, 79% of Latinos who were online had internet access at home, while in 2008, this number was 81%.”
(Thanks to Siobhan Champ Blackwell’s Bringing Health Information to the Community.)
Quitting Smoking May Cause Increased Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
Quitting smoking could have a possible negative effect, as well as the positive of kicking the habit. A recent study has shown a 70 percent increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes among people who have stopped smoking during the first six years without cigarettes over those who have never smoked, with the highest risk for developing diabetes occurring during the first three years. Researchers believe the increased risk comes from the extra weight gain that is common in people who quit smoking. Hsin-Chieh Yeh of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine says, “If you smoke, give it up. That’s the right thing to do. But people have to watch their weight.”
The study is published in the January 5 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine.
Sites for a Healthier New Year
With 2010 right around the corner, you may have resolutions for the new year. One of your new resolutions may be to exercise more, to eat healthier, or to make healthy choices. The Executive Office of the President and the US Office of Health and Human Services have a site, HealthierUS.gov, that “provides credible, accurate information to help Americans choose healthier habits.” The site has information about physical activity, nutrition, preventive screenings, and healthy choices.
For more information about physical fitness, the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports’ site, Fitness.gov, offers information on health, physical activity, fitness and sports. Medlineplus.gov provides information on exercise routines and staying motivated on the exercise and physical fitness, exercise for children, and exercise for seniors topic pages.
Wishing you a happy and healthy new year!
getHIP Outreach Event
On Friday December 1, staff from the UT Health Science Center Library presented, “Health Information Resources on the Web”, to Family Specialists from the Northeast Independent School District in San Antonio. The Family Specialists work closely with their campus families in educating them to take a more active role in their child’s education. At their monthly meetings, information is disseminated that they can share with parents, teachers and students.
Paula Maez and Lara Sapp introduced them to two authoritative online health information resources, MedlinePlus.gov and healthfinder.gov. These resources help consumers locate the best government and nonprofit health information on the internet.
FDA Opens Office in Mexico City
From today’s news release: “The opening of this office represents an important step as we re-design our product safety strategy. We, like our partners in the Mexican Government, realize that prevention is the key. For example, more than a third of the fresh fruits and vegetables we eat come from Mexico as do a large amount of our medical devices. Having FDA experts located permanently there will be mutually beneficial to both our countries and respective citizens,” said U.S. FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D.
More oral cancers found in women
Oral cancers, usually triggered by long-term alcohol and tobacco use, are most commonly found in men. However, dentists are noting increasing incidences of these cancers in their female patients. In addition to the cancers that are related to alcohol and tobacco use, women are being diagnosed with oral cancers caused by the Human Papilloma Virus, the same virus that causes cervical cancer and which can be transferred through sexual activity. The HPV virus can remain dormant for years. Dentists most frequently find the oral cancer lesions during comprehensive, routine checkups which should include examinations of not only the patient’s teeth, but the entire mouth area including the tongue, tonsils, and larynx.
World AIDS Day – December 1
World AIDS Day is observed every year on December 1. It is an international day to raise awareness about HIV and AIDS around the world. You can find more information about AIDS on Medlineplus.gov and on AIDS.gov. AIDS.gov also offers a list of different ways to get involved on World AIDS Day. Some of the suggestions include following AIDS.gov on twitter (@AIDSgov), find a HIV test site at HIVtest.org, and download posters at pepfar.gov’s poster show and on HHS.gov.
Healthy People 2020 Draft Objectives
From the Healthy People 2020 National Health Information Center:
“Every 10 years, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) sets national objectives for promoting health and preventing disease through a process known as Healthy People 2020. Right now, HHS is in the planning mode for Healthy People 2020. As a national initiative, Healthy People’s success depends on public input. The draft Healthy People 2020 objectives are now available online. We are asking that you encourage people to review the draft objectives and submit their comments.”
Of special interest to the South Texas community are objectives related to access to health services and linguistically appropriate community health promotion programs.